News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Fewer Doctors Enrolled in Low-Income Insurance Program Despite Surge in Patients
HealthyCal.org

Nearly 25 percent fewer physicians were signed up to treat low-income patients in the state’s insurance program this spring compared to a year prior, despite the surge in patients enrolled in Medi-Cal.

The drop in providers is due to the Department of Health Care Services’ efforts to remove doctors who haven’t complied with application requirements or billed the program in a year, spokesman Anthony Cava said.

“This has not resulted in a decrease in access to care,” he said.

News Headlines Article

Nurse-Family Partnerships reduces preventable deaths among mothers, children
Merced Sun-Star

Preventable deaths among low-income mothers and their first-born children living in disadvantaged neighborhoods can be significantly reduced by the implementation of Nurse-Family Partnership, a nurse home visiting program, according to a study.

The national program, which currently serves 21 counties in California, including Merced, pairs qualifying women with a registered nurse for home visitations throughout the mother’s pregnancy and until the child’s second birthday.

News Headlines Article

Filling gaps: Covered California adds two new senior executives
San Francisco Business Times

Covered California, the state’s Obamacare exchange, has added two new senior officials, a week after it announced the appointment of two chief deputy executive directors who will help Executive Director Peter Lee run the Sacramento-based insurance exchange. The most recent appointments include former Blue Shield of California executive Anne Price as director of the Plan Management Division and James Lombard as chief financial officer. Lombard most recently was chief administrative officer in the California State Controller’s Office, while Price was director of finance and strategic partnerships for Blue Shield’s work with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, better known as CalPERS.

News Headlines Article

ACA Data Shows Medicaid Gap Widening Between Expansion and Non-Expansion States
The Health Care Blog

In measuring the effects of health insurance coverage expansion as part of our ACAView initiative with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), an important factor to consider is state policy towards Medicaid expansion.

The intention of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to expand coverage through two mechanisms: 1) People with moderate incomes could gain coverage through the exchanges, often encouraged by subsidies; and 2) those with lower incomes could gain coverage through an expansion of Medicaid eligibility to include groups that had not traditionally qualified for Medicaid.

News Headlines Article

California cut uninsured rate in half, study shows
Sacramento Business Journal

The percentage of working age adults in California without health insurance was cut in half since September, a new survey shows. The uninsured rate dropped to 11 percent for the quarter that ended in June, down from 22 percent from the quarter that ended in September 2013, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund. Nationwide, the rate dropped to 15 percent from 20 percent over the same period, meaning there are now an estimated 9.5 million fewer adults in the U.S. without insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The figures reflect the population ages 19 to 64.

News Headlines Article

Narrow Provider Networks Set to Spread
Health Leaders Media

With their prominent cost-containing role in the new public exchanges, narrow provider networks have been the object of persistent healthcare industry hand-wringing this year.

But narrow networks are not only a well-established industry practice, thrifty consumers are also open to them, according to Joseph Berardo Jr., president and CEO of New York, NY-based MagnaCare, a health plan that features a provider network with 70,000 locations in the New York and New Jersey markets.

News Headlines Article

States told to find way to clear Medicaid backlog
Sacramento Bee

A half-dozen states with backlogs for Medicaid enrollees were facing a federal deadline Monday to create plans for getting those low-income residents enrolled in health coverage.

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sent letters dated June 27 to Alaska, California, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee asking those states to address gaps in their eligibility and enrollment systems that have delayed access to coverage for poor and disabled people.

News Headlines Article

Docs, Specialists ID Proposed Payment Fee Concerns
Health Leaders Media

Physician reimbursement for currently unpaid time spent dispensing non-face-to-face care, an expanded payment modifier, and cuts for some common codes used by specialists are among the provisions in Medicare’s Physician Fee Schedule proposal getting attention from physicians groups.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ 609-page proposal released July 3 outlines how doctors will be paid starting Jan. 1, 2015.

News Headlines Article

Abortion fight brewing in the Senate
The Hill

Senate Democrats are itching for a fight over abortion rights, and they might just get one from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and its allies.

The flagship anti-abortion-rights group denounced a sweeping bill from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Monday that is designed to invalidate most restrictions on abortion around the country.

News Headlines Article

Skin cancer drug combo with Genentech sends Exelixis stock soaring
San Francisco Business Times

A combination of drugs from two South San Francisco biotech companies helped patients with an advanced skin cancer live longer without their disease worsening than if they took one of the drugs alone, according to early data from a clinical trial. The strong, albeit preliminary, results will push Genentech Inc. to seek Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug combo targeting deadly melanoma by the end of the year.

News Headlines Article

Nurses, Kaiser could be headed for contract battle
Sacramento Business Journal

The California Nurses Association is gearing up for what could be contentious contract negotiations with Kaiser Permanente. The existing contract expires Aug. 31. It covers 17,000 registered nurses across Northern California, including 3,500 in the Sacramento region. Face-to-face talks begin July 24 and union officials are willing to call a strike if Kaiser proposes cuts considered harmful to nurses or patients.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser, Nurses Union Brace for Upcoming Contract Battle
KQED Radio

Going to a nurses union meeting is a little bit like going to an evangelical church service. “We all have to stand up, and it’s a struggle,” says nurse Veronica Cambra, reporting a grievance at Kaiser Hospital in Fremont as though she’s giving testimony. “And we will overcome this, okay?” The rest of the nurses respond with the passion of a devout congregation, humming “Mmm hmmm,” and “That’s right,” through the series of speeches.

The union heads at the front of the room interject now and then to rally the group around a unifying message.

News Headlines Article

Lodi Memorial Hospital Foundation celebrates 30 years of SummerFest
Lodi News-Sentinel

Lodi Memorial Hospital Foundation’s annual SummerFest fundraiser will celebrate its 30th year on Saturday. The annual tradition first began as Mai Fest in May 1984, and included a variety of food, wine and entertainment. The event was moved to July in 1991 and given the name SummerFest. Since its beginning, more than $2 million has been raised for the hospital, said Jan Chandler, immediate past president of the foundation board and lead volunteer.

News Headlines Article

Local hospitals earn national rankings
San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego Health System and Scripps Health continued to burnish their medical reputations with a combined local record of 20 national rankings in the latest “Best Hospitals” edition of U.S. News & World Report. Released Monday night, the annual compendium examines a host of criteria — including death rates, doctors’ opinions and use of technology — for nearly 5,000 hospitals nationwide.

News Headlines Article

Kern Medical Center financial picture brightens
Bakersfield Californian

Two months don’t make up a reliable trend.

But Kern Medical Center’s financial performance in May tacked a second month of hopeful statistics onto the end of the county hospital’s terrible fiscal year. Russell Judd, seven months into his job as CEO of ailing KMC, reported Monday that additional business in the surgery and emergency room departments coupled with higher productivity boosted the hospital’s bottom line.

Commands